Tuesday Jan 05, 2021
ISLAMABAD: PTV Chairman Naeem Bokhari took a U-turn on his earlier statement relating to the state-run channel not giving coverage to the Opposition, adding that he was only joking when he made the comments earlier.
The PTV chairman appeared before the National Assembly\s Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday. PPP MNA and a member of the committee, Nafisa Shah asked Bokhari about his earlier statement regarding the Opposition.
"Will you only allow government representatives to convey their point of view on the state-run TV? Will you not allow the Opposition to present their opinion on PTV?" she asked him.
"I was joking when I spoke about not inviting Opposition leaders. The Opposition will be given the opportunity to share their perspective on PTV," he replied.
The PTV chairman spoke about the monotonous nature of current affairs shows these days on TV. "All of you are politicians," he said, addressing the members of the committee. "You can see from 7-11pm the same types of politicians appearing on all the private news channels. Are we giving anything new to the public?"
Bokhari said that he had been appointed an honorary chairman of the PTV for six months and was not taking any perks or even a salary for his services.
"We immediately removed all staff members of the PTV who were receiving huge salaries," he said, speaking about the measures taken to set the state-run TV on the right course. "We even removed the Managing Director of the PTV who was being paid more than Rs2.1mn per month," he added.
Bokhari said that no anchor in the PTV will be paid more than Rs300,000 from henceforth, adding that he had cancelled all recruitments that had not been made on merit.
"Whatever happens wrong in PTV, I am answerable for it," he told the committee.
Bokhari said that there were certain employees of the PTV who were dual nationals. "We are carrying out a probe, if their fraud is proven, I will move the FIA or NAB myself," said the PTV chairman.
Bokhari had said a couple of months ago that the state television will only represent the government, adding that it was "not like any other channel".
In a video clip that was widely shared on the internet, Bokhari was interacting with reporters while on his way to somewhere. One of the reporters asked him whether the government and the Opposition will get "equal time" on PTV.
"Absolutely not," he had said. "This is the PTV, not any other channel. This is state television which represents the government."
"Only government?" the reporter had asked him.
"Only government," the PTV chairman had confirmed before the video cuts short.